Creating a vision of a more inclusive, relevant future
This resource is part of a series of tools and exercises from OF/BY/FOR ALL to help build more inclusive and relevant organisations as part of Arts Council England's strategy for 2020-2030, Let's Create.
The journey to build a more relevant and inclusive organisation is long and nuanced. It can be helpful first to sketch out a vision of your desired destination. An inspiring vision can help you stay motivated and focused on progress, even as you run into obstacles along the way.
This is a 60 minute exercise you can do with colleagues and/or trustees. It includes a facilitation guide and tips for visioning that might help.
How to Do It
Step 1: Vision on your own
- Set a timer, and spend 20 minutes writing a detailed story about a day at your organisation 5-10 years from now. Put yourself in a positive frame of mind, and imagine you have accomplished everything you’ve ever dreamed of when it comes to building a more inclusive and relevant organisation. What does it look like? Who’s there? What’s different
- Start with a sentence like "It's DATE, and today's the day when..." or "It's DATE, and I'm walking in to work..." Use as many specifics as possible, in narrative form (not bullets). This is a detailed history from the future.
- Use the tips on the second page to help you write with confidence and ease.
Step 2: Discuss with your team
- Share your vision with colleagues and trustees. Note where there are common themes, divergences, and ideas that might point to new ways of working.
- Take a step back to talk about the bigger picture. Some questions to get you started:
- Who’s in this vision, and who’s still missing?
- What changes might we need to make to our workforce, or what skills might we need to build, to make these visions possible?
- What specific commitments might trustees and executive leaders need to make now to make these visions possible in the long term?
In the next 20 minutes, you will write a vision of vibrant community involvement at your organisation—in the form of a story from the perspective of a single day 5-10 years in the future.
Your vision should answer the question: “What do I want to create?” It is about your preferred future, not about intentions or opportunities.
A few tips to keep in mind:
- Paint a clear and positive picture of the future. Be descriptive, meaningful, and specific.
- Consider incorporating what you’d like to see with regard to audience, workforce, governance, and programming…and whatever else matters to you.
- Focus on the end result (the “what”) not the process (the “how) to get there.
- Dial up the “want!” Put in everything you DO want to happen and nothing you don’t want to happen.
- Don’t be constrained by what you think appears to be possible or realistic.
- Even if you don’t know what to write, keep writing until the timer dings. You might be surprised where you end up.
- Remember you can always edit and change it (this is a draft).
- If you run into an impossible obstacle, write yourself past it. You can write, “It was challenging figuring out how to change the trustee nominating process, but once we did so, amazing things happened.”
- Set it in present tense (though you are writing about the future).
- Ground it in constructive emotions of curiosity, passion, wonder, and hope
Other resources in this series